BREAKING NEWS: R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts in Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Trial

R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts

BREAKING NEWS: R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts in Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Trial

SUMMARY:

  • R. Kelly’s conviction represents a major #MeToo moment for Black women.

When the #MeToo movement erupted years ago, scores of women spoke out against the powerful men, igniting a national reckoning over sexual abuse and harassment.

But as cases of high-profile men like the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein put a spotlight on the accusations of white women, Black women often said they felt left out of the conversation.

  • R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and 8 counts of sex trafficking.The guilty verdict came swiftly, particularly given the complexity of the case against R. Kelly and the lengthy trial.
  • R. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022. He could spend the rest of his life in prison, representing a remarkable downfall for the singer who once stood atop the world of R&B.
  • The singer R. Kelly was found guilty of leading a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex.
  • The six-week trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., included graphic and disturbing testimony about se xual abuse by one of America’s best-known musicians
  • With R. Kelly found guilty, the big question for the music industry is whether his music will now be removed from major digital platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Although most digital outlets have policies barring hate speech, they tend to take a hands-off approach when it comes to removing material, seeing themselves as neutral platforms and not censors.
  • Depending on your view of tech companies, the decision to remove R. Kelly’s content can be high-minded and principled, or just a way to avoid the slippery slope of policing their platforms. Even when Spotify instituted a “hateful conduct” policy in 2018, they did not delete the artists’s songs. The policy came under fire as arbitrary, and disproportionately affecting Black artists, and was rescinded after a few weeks.
R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts
R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts -Scott Olson/Getty Images

 

 R. Kelly Found Guilty of All Counts in Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Trial

R. Kelly sat motionless in the courtroom as he was found guilty of all nine counts of the racketeering and sex-trafficking charges against him. His facial expression was hidden by a mask.

The six-week trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., included graphic and disturbing testimony about sexual abuse by one of America’s best-known musicians.

R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering.

The jury is now going through the 14 different acts of racketeering. The prosecution only had to prove 2.

Relatively brief deliberations in a complex case can like this often indicate that the jury was fairly united in reaction to the trial.

 

R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering.

R. Kelly left a courthouse in Chicago in 2019. The singer was found guilty of racketeering in New York.
R. Kelly left a courthouse in Chicago in 2019. The singer was found guilty of racketeering in New York.Credit…Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press

The singer R. Kelly, who for years dominated the world of R&B music, was found guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex.

The jury in the singer’s criminal trial in federal court in Brooklyn convicted him of racketeering after beginning its deliberations Friday afternoon.

The high-profile trial was the first of the Me Too-era where a large majority of the defendant’s accusers were Black women, and the trial was widely seen as a test of the inclusivity of the broader movement to hold powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct.

For Mr. Kelly, the verdict represents the first criminal consequence after decades of murmurs and accusations of sexual abuse and other misbehavior.

Mr. Kelly, once one of the biggest names in popular music, could face decades in prison, capping a remarkable reversal of fortune. He evaded criminal punishment in 2008 when he was acquitted on 14 counts in a highly publicized child pornography case that loomed over the New York trial in the minds of many observers.

The conviction is likely to further diminish the widespread public image that Mr. Kelly enjoyed through the early 2000s as a charismatic and genre-redefining lyricist. The persona began to collapse in the public eye as his conduct came under new scrutiny at the height of the Me Too movement.

Over the course of the six-week trial, prosecutors described in harrowing detail an ecosystem of torment and abuse, with evidence that extended from recent years as far back as 1991.

Prosecutors called nearly four dozen witnesses who testified about how the singer’s public persona as an infectiously charismatic virtuoso disguised a calculated and controlling predator. The witnesses included nine women and two men who accused Mr. Kelly of abuse or other misconduct, and eight of Mr. Kelly’s former employees.

The singer’s lawyers, homing in on minor changes in aspects of witnesses’ stories over time, sought to convince the jurors that any sexual activity involving him and his accusers was consensual and that the accounts of abuse and misconduct had been fabricated. The defense team tried to portray Mr. Kelly as an altruistic romantic partner who regarded the women around him as family and had been blindsided by their allegations.

But the seven men and five women on the jury ultimately sided with the government.

 

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